When news broke yesterday morning that Jack Del Rio had been fired, several Jaguars players went to Twitter, Facebook and the media to voice their support and appreciation for Del Rio. The one to break that trend was the always truthful and open Fred Taylor when he spoke to Eric Adelson of Yahoo! Sports' ThePostGame.com.
"With Jack, you never knew what you were getting. You don’t know if you’ll get a hard-ass one day, a buddy-buddy one day. You never really knew."
Fred Taylor was drafted in 1998 and played five seasons with Tom Coughlin before Coughlin was fired and replaced with Del Rio in 2003. He then played six seasons with Del Rio before the Jaguars decided to part ways with Taylor shortly after the 2008 season. A move that didn't rub Taylor the right way, apparently.
He was asked if Del Rio played favorites while he was in Jacksonville and Taylor said:
"[Expletive] yeah. Hell yeah. Why do you think I'm not there? There wasn't any falloff in my production. I expressed my willingness to take a paycut. I just wanted to be there and be a part of the community. I wanted to finish my career there. Just because we had this new running back. All we had to do was switch roles. 'Fred, Maurice [Jones-Drew] is going to be the starter.' Fine, no problem. I wasn't a virus in the locker room. I worked my ass off -- everything."
Clearly Taylor puts a lot of blame for his departure from the team on Del Rio, but that may be misplaced. Gene Smith was introduced as the team's general manager in January of 2009 and Fred Taylor was released just a little over a month later in February of 2009. The move to release Taylor was a decision made by Smith, not Del Rio.
Regardless, Taylor makes some interesting comments about Del Rio's coaching in the article, culminating with the conclusion that:
"At the end of the day, [Del Rio]'s not a head coach," Taylor says. "He's a great defensive coach. But he's not a head coach."